The fact that the wines of Saint-Émilion are respected all over the planet is in due in no small part to the great job done by the Jurade, whose actions have had a major impact in France and abroad.
As early as 1884, local producers established the first syndicat viticole (winegrowers association) in France. This was just one of many steps taken in Saint-Émilion over the years to enhance the production, promotion, and sale of the town's world-class wines.
The Syndicat Viticole created two appellations: Saint-Émilion and Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. They also instituted a classification enabling wines in the Saint-Émilion Grand Cru appellation to attain status as :
- a Grand Cru Classé,
- Premier Grand Cru Classé
- Premier Grand Cru Classé A. (hightest classification)
This classification adopted and instituted in 1955 by the Union of Wine of Saint-Émilion (which became in 2007 the Wine Council of Saint-Émilion) is re-examined every 10 years and encourages winegrowers to come up to excellence. Its main objective is to guarantee the origin, the quality and authenticity of Saint-Émilion wines.
A wine commission has to oversee the whole ranking procedure. The National Committee of Wines and Brandies designates this commission. It’s composed of 7 people working in the wine-area, outside of the Bordeaux region.
Here are some criteria that are rigorously examined by the commission :
The latest classification drawn up by the INAO (Institut National de l'Origine et de la Qualité) and the Ministry of Agriculture dates back to 2022 and consecrated 85 properties, including 2 Premiers Grands Crus Classés A, 12 Premiers Grands Crus Classés and 71 Grands Crus Classés.
In 2012, the tasting has been an important part of the final wine ranking.
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